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Fan Pursues Bonds Home Run Ball, But Strikes Out

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Fan Pursues Bonds Home Run Ball, But Strikes Out

Fri Sep 17, 2004 10:30 AM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A baseball fan who bought up 6,458 seats at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium in the hope of catching and selling Barry Bonds' 700th home run ball admitted on Thursday he had probably struck out.

Los Angeles investment banker Michael Mahan crunched some numbers back in March and spent $25,000 to buy all the bleachers in the stadium's right-field pavilion for the Oct. 1 and Oct. 3 games when he figured Bonds would become only the third man to enter the 700-homer club.

But with Bonds on Thursday already at 699 home runs and with 12 games to go before Oct. 1 Mahan said the chances of being there for the milestone were slim.

"I am just looking to see a good game and having a good time. I am not overly disappointed. There was a chance, that's all there was," said Mahan, a lifelong Dodgers fan.

Mahan said he was not out of pocket. He sold 3,000 tickets to a broker, hundreds more through his Web site, gave others to family and friends and donated 400 to a local kids charity.

Every buyer signed a contract promising to hand over to Mahan any Bonds home run ball they might catch. Mahan would sell the ball -- which he said experts claimed might fetch up to $500,000 if it were the 700th -- and split the cash with the fan who caught it.

It is not the first time that baseball fans have gone the extra mile for souvenirs as the San Francisco Giants slugger pursues the 755 all-time home run mark set by Hank Aaron in 1976. Bonds is currently third behind Aaron and Babe Ruth, who has 714 home runs.

Two tussling baseball fans ended up in a San Francisco court over ownership of the ball that Bonds hit for his 73rd home run in 2001, a record for single-season homers. That ball, which was once estimated to be worth as much as $1.5 million, was auctioned by a judge's order for $450,000.

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© Copyright Reuters 2004. All rights reserved.

reuters.com

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